Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Check out this story about what Bush knew before the Iraq war. Here's a quote:

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

I wonder if the Congress saw this "same intelligence," hmmm?

Sick of Politics

A friend told me he was sick of politics because no matter what he reads, no matter which side it's written from, he can't believe it because it's written from biases, not from truth.

I'm currently reading "The Republican Noise Machine" by David Brock, and it mentioned a study that kind of gets at this point. Here is a link to the study (.pdf) and here is a quote from the Brock book about the study's findings:

...the liberal papers criticized President Bill Clinton 30 percent of the
time, while the conservative papers criticized President George W. Bush only 7
percent of the time. The conservative papers praised George W. Bush's
administration 77 percent of the time, while the liberal papers praised the
Clinton administration only 30 percent of the time. The liberal papers
criticized Bush 67 percent of the time, while conservative papers criticized
Clinton 89 percent of the time (p. 133).

So, the point is, it would seem that, from the results of this study, the liberal papers are more trustworthy than the conservative papers, if only because they are more willing to be fair, even-handed, and accepting of arguments and ideas that don't necessarily line up exactly with their own.

Or something...

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Dennis Hastert has it all wrong, that fucker. He had this to say about Murtha's call for withdrawal of troops from Iraq:

"I am saddened by the comments made today by Rep. Murtha. It is clear that as Nancy Pelosi's top lieutenant on armed services, Rep. Murtha and Democratic leaders have adopted a policy of cut and run. They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the President is on foreign soil."
Surrender? The United States cut and run? Fuck you, Hastert! We won the fucking Iraq war! Remember May 1, 2003? Mission Accomplished!

What I want to know is why the Republicans are so down on the United States, acting as though we can't defeat a pissant country like Iraq. They're hurting the morale of our troops with that kind of talk--saying that the "terrorists" aren't yet contained and that we haven't won yet. They proudly say, "we don't want an 'exit' strategy, we want a 'victory' strategy" (i.e., Bill Frist). We won already, you jackasses--there's no need for a strategy.

As Murtha plainly explained in his statement today:

"Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. "
Hey Republicans--we stuck a boot up Iraq's ass, in the colorful parlance of one your favorite "artists." We fucking mowed 'em down, we're running the entire country, their leader is about to be tried--we won, you sickos! Let the soldiers come home!

The Real Reason We're Still In Iraq

All sarcasm aside, though, it is patently ridiculous to equate the idea of withdrawal with surrender. As Murtha pointed out, we did what we came to do so let's get the fuck out. Of course, as I and so many others have said since before the war, we never should've gone to war with Iraq in the first goddamn place.

The real reason we're still in Iraq is simple. It's political leverage for the Republicans (and some Dim-ocrats). Or more precisely, leverage for what Justin Raimondo accurately and disparagingly calls "the War Party."

Let's face it, this immoral, hideous mistake of a war is the only reason there weren't riots in the streets when Bush (and/or Bush cronies at Diebold and ES&S) stole Ohio from Kerry. Sitting presidents don't lose when there are wars on. Period. It's never happened. The flag waves and the eagle soars...

But of course, with Bush now in a second term, the Corporate-crats and the Anti-Peace party need to keep a diversion going whereby they can continue their stated goal of undoing all the progressive improvements of the 20th century. So a war that whips up undue patriotic fervor (undue because the Iraq war is unjust, we were lied into it, we're not even picking on someone our own size) is just what the doctor ordered.

That's why the Republicans continue to insult the work the troops have done. Even though it's clear we have won the Iraq war, they keep insisting that acknowleding our achievements and moving on to bigger and better things (like peace and saving money rather than blowing a couple billion a month) is chickenshit. When the Republicans who lied us into this war say that our clear victory in Iraq is not good enough and that more Americans have to stay there and die so that the Corporatists can complete their takeover of society and the dismantling of our government--that is fucking PURE EVIL.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

THEY DENIED IT EARLIER: Pentagon admits use of white phosphorous

Well, well, well...the Eye Talian press got it right after all, huh...maybe some U.S. journalists need to pay a little more attention to that La Repubblica story...

But here's the telling line in the BBC story linked above:

The US earlier denied it [white phosphorous] had been used in Falluja at all.
Sound familiar? How about Scott McClellan assuring us that he talked to Rove and Libby personally and they told Scottie they weren't involved in the leak. They denied it earlier...

And there are many more such incidents. Incidents like this phosphorous business are just par for the course. It's kindergarten simple--whatever anyone in the Bush administration says, the opposite is true. Listen for it--the next denial or assertion of fact you hear from Bush's or McClellan's mouth, know that the opposite is true.

Pentagon a week ago: We not only didn't use white phosphorous as a munition, we didn't use it at all. THE OPPOSITE WAS TRUE.

Just saying...

Letter To The Editor

Another one appeared today: First the one I responded to, then my response...

Pray earnestly for our president

Regarding the letter to the editor published Oct. 7 in the Hattiesburg American ("President Bush should step down") by D.E. Dawsey of Columbia, how did Mr. Dawsey come to believe his opinion is that of the American public? I, for one, do not agree with anything Mr. Dawsey has said.

I believe President Bush is a man of high integrity and intelligence. I have never seen or heard any evidence to the contrary. The fact that over 100 countries offered aid to the U.S. after Katrina speaks very highly of President Bush, who personally dealt with the leaders of these countries and earned their respect.

Concerning the war in Iraq, I have never been more proud of my son than the day he left to serve our country in Iraq, even though my heart grieved every moment. I knew he was on a mission for good and right, peace and liberty for the oppressed and downtrodden.

President Bush has told us he prays daily for God's guidance. When God is using someone, Satan goes after them with everything he has to destroy them. Are we as Christian people going to let Satan destroy our leader who seeks God's guidance?

If we sit back and allow this, then shame is on us.

We need to pray earnestly that God will guide and protect President Bush as he stands for the right.

Sandra Price,


Willful ignorance pervades nation

In response to Sandra Price's letter to the editor on Veterans Day ("Pray earnestly for our president," Nov. 11), I would say that we don't need to pray; we need to acknowledge the mountain of evidence that confirms the Bush administration's grave errors and take appropriate action to correct those errors.

I'll sum up Price's main points and then rebut them.

First, she can't believe the American public is unhappy with Bush - to which I say that even Fox News shows in a recent poll that only 36 percent of Americans approve of Bush's job performance.

Second, she says Bush is a "man of high integrity and intelligence," and she has "never seen or heard any evidence to the contrary." To which I reply, open your eyes and take your fingers out of your ears, as have 58 percent of Americans who recently told ABC News/Washington Post pollsters that they doubt Bush's honesty both as president and as a person.

Third, Price argues that the Iraq war is "good and right" and is being fought for "peace and liberty for the oppressed and downtrodden." Only people who are deluding themselves (and/or being deluded by others) could really think those things are true of an illegal conflict in which we invaded a country that never attacked us, tortured prisoners taken there and caused the deaths of thousands of civilians.

I plead with Price and others who share her views to stop intentionally ignoring information unfavorable to the president just because he says he prays every day. Is that really all he has to do to get a pass - merely speak those words (whether he means them or not) and then no matter what else may come to light about him, he has your support?

Even the devil can cite scripture for his purpose.

Unfortunately, such willful ignorance pervades this country and can only lead to more sorrow, death and destruction.

Clinton Kirby

Friday, November 11, 2005


So the Katrina contracts have not been rebid, a month after the pledge was made. Must everything the Bush administration tries to do regarding Katrina turn to shit?

Well, I guess that's really a rhetorical question...unfortunately.

Monday, November 07, 2005


A few entries ago, I mentioned Sam Harris and his book “The End Of Faith” in a favorable light. That was before I read the book.

For such a gifted writer who is fearless and unrelenting in his puncturing of religious belief, his voracious appetite for received wisdom is unsettling.

In short, he thinks we’re the good guys and the “terrorists” (read Muslims and non-Westerners) are the bad guys. He goes to great lengths to demonstrate this. He writes as though he is not aware of the work of Robert Pape, but he in fact does refer to Pape’s work.

Here’s an example of what I mean about us being good and them being bad:

(p. 141)
Take the bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceuticals plant [in Sudan]:according to Chomsky, the atrocity of September 11 pales in comparison with that perpetrated by the Clinton administration in August 1998. But let us now ask some very basic questions that Chomsky seems to have neglected to ask himself: What did the U.S. government think it was doing when it sent cruise missiles into Sudan? Destroying a chemical weapons site used by Al Qaeda.

Harris points out that Chomsky’s justification for this charge is that the bombing of the plant resulted in thousands of deaths in Sudan because pharmaceuticals are hard to come by in Sudan to begin with and then when a plant that makes them gets blown up, Sudan is then even worse off than usual.

Harris then goes on to ask this question:

(Continuing directly) Did the Clinton administration intend to bring about the deaths of thousands of Sudanese children? No. Was our goal to kill as many Sudanese as we could? No.

Intent Or Result

My problem with this line of reasoning is that it doesn’t matter if we didn't intend to cause the deaths of thousands of people. What matters is that we caused it. In other words, no matter what our intent may have been, the result is the same–thousands of innocent people dead.

It reminds me of a child who causes a lamp to fall off a table, breaking it. The parent scolds the child but the child protests that he didn’t mean to do it. But the parent points out the obvious–the lamp is still broken.

Harris then goes on to say that “asking [the above] questions about Osama bin Laden and the nineteen hijackers puts us in a different moral universe entirely.” And that is the crux of my problem with the Harris book so far–that Harris won’t tolerate violence from Muslims directed at the West because of their beliefs and their intentions. But violence carried out by the West against Muslims is A-OK because of our intentions and our beliefs.

That is to say, in Harris’ mind, the violence of Muslims is always only the result of a religious belief and never the result of a legitimate political grievance buttressed by a religious belief.

For such a learned person, his apparent naivete about geopolitical concerns is disturbing. For instance, he writes disapprovingly of Iraqi reaction to the U.S. occupation of that country, saying that “the idea of an army of infidels occupying Baghdad simply could not be countenanced, no matter what humanitarian purpose it might serve (p. 128).” Again, he attempts to exonerate the U.S. with our supposedly good intentions. But the road to Abu Ghraib is paved with good intentions.

An Honest Peanut Farmer

Speaking of that, on BookTV this weekend, Brian Williams played devil’s advocate with Jimmy Carter, pointing out that neocons would defend the war, however ill-advised it may have been and however atrociously it may now be going, by asking “Don’t you think that, if nothing else, the world is better off without Saddam in power?”

I was afraid that like most Democrats and liberals who are on pundit shows, he would be forced to admit that “yes, the world is better off without Saddam” and then just leave it at that. But thankfully, to his credit, Carter didn’t do that. He pointed out the obvious–yes, the world is better off without Saddam in power, but that didn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s cost hundreds of billions of dollars for us to do that, over 2,000 American lives, 15,000 + wounded, scores of thousands of Iraqi dead and wounded, and a big drop in our support around the world. Was getting rid of Saddam, who had no WMD (acknowledged by Rice and Powell prior to Sept. 11) and never threatened us worth all of that, Carter shot back?

Just Turned The Page

OK, I read on and was stunned again by Harris’ naivete but don’t have time to write about it. He buys the argument that, as Arundhati Roy says in a passage he quotes, America is a “well-intentioned giant.” Roy uses the term in derogation, Harris uses it as absolution. But what Harris fails to see is that our intentions are “good” to us–but they are bad to others. Harris will not hear of a Muslim’s intentions being “good” because they are often counter to our intentions, and therefore bad, even though from a Muslim perspective they are “good.”

And this is where the “moral equivalence” canard gets shown for the bullshit it is. If anyone’s intentions are “good” but result in deaths of innocents, that is bad. The ends do not justify the means (Scott Ritter asked anyone who believed that to turn in their passports and get out of the country in a session with Seymour Hersh yesterday on C-Span). If you mean to do good, but hurt people in the process of doing “good,” you’ve done bad.

Why is that? Well, because anyone can claim to be well-meaning. You cannot see people’s “good” intentions, but you can see the dead bodies that may well result from them.

OK, that’s as far as I can take this tonight. But I think Harris would make a great guest on “The Majority Report”–a neoconservative that thinks religion is harmful.